Growing up in Massachusetts, a dozen doughnuts on a Sunday morning meant one thing: a tall box from our local Dunkin’ Donuts. But while Dunkin’ maintains its stronghold here (note Starbucks’ repeated inability to crack the New England loyalty) a new culture around doughnuts in Boston has gained traction. Throughout the city, doughnuts are having the same kind of moment that cupcakes had several years ago. Flavors have exploded beyond the old favorites, though the classics still tend to be some of the most popular; nearly every shop I visited touted their Boston Cream as the best in town. I criss-crossed Boston to find the best of the best, and like any good New Englander, I washed it all down with an iced coffee from the good old orange and pink. Below are the can’t-miss, absolute best doughnuts in Boston that I discovered.
Honey Dip, Kane’s Donuts
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While there may be plenty of complex and difficult flavors out there, the thing that is really difficult to do is to impress without all the bells and whistles. With its soft texture and melt-in-your-mouth glaze, the signature Honey Dip doughnut from Kane’s Donuts (see photo above) is a clear standout. Kane’s has been cooking this favorite up since 1955, so it’s easy to understand why they’ve got it right. Sweet without being cloying, soft and moist without being oily, this classic from Kane’s reigns supreme.
The Runners Up
Maple Bacon, Union Square Donuts
A lot of people out there are combining sweet treats with bacon, but not many of them are doing it right. Rather than tasting like an ultra sugary dessert, the Maple Bacon doughnut at Union Square is more reminiscent of syrup dripping off your morning pancakes and pooling beside the bacon on your plate. This doughnut would be right at home with a diner cup of coffee and a side of home fries. Even if you are getting burnt out on the trend of putting bacon on everything, you won’t want to miss this pick.
Bavarian Cream, Anna’s Hand Cut Donuts
The best thing about the Bavarian Cream doughnut from Anna’s is its absolutely perfect filling. The consistency is rich without being overwhelming, and doesn’t spill out everywhere when you cut it in half (if you are willing to share that is). Even with the filling, nothing about this doughnut feels heavy. And despite the powdered sugar dusting the outside, the sweetness never tastes like a sugar bomb. This sweet and creamy confection has the perfect balance required for a successful filled doughnut.
Salted Toffee, Blackbird Doughnuts
The trick to this doughnut is the perfect balance of sweet and salty. With its soft caramel-y glaze, the Salted Toffee doughnut from Blackbird features a light and satisfying dough, and is the ideal choice for someone who is looking for something sweet but not too sweet. The glaze is balanced on a perfect consistency doughnut that melts in your mouth. The salty touch and deep layers of flavor will leave you wanting to order another.
Boston Cream, Union Square Donuts
Every shop offers a classic Boston Cream, but this second pick from Union Square is the best choice of the bunch. The key here is the dark chocolate ganache which boasts deep flavor, without wiping out the taste of the vanilla custard. By not skimping on chocolate flavor or rich filling, Union Square takes this classic to the next level.